“One Little Piece” (Flash Fiction)

I’m really starting to enjoy writing flash fiction. As someone who has always kept to traditional short stories and novels, I’ve only recently dipped my toes into the pool of short-shorts. It turns out the water is fine. I’m not sure where this new form will lead, but if nothing else, I’m having fun with it for now.

You can read some of my slightly longer stories through the “A Little Taste” and “A Cautionary Tale” tabs above. The “About My Books” tab has a dropdown selection of links to my short story collection and novels.

Meanwhile, here’s my latest attempt at flash fiction:

The installers had gone for lunch. Jerry surveyed the family room where the old carpet had been torn up, but new carpet had not been laid. The bare floor made the room foreign and uninviting.

The house hadn’t had new carpeting in decades, and though Jerry hated changing anything, it was time. He stared at the floor, trying to recall what it had looked like this morning, and for the past 35 years. A little bit of something against the wall caught his eye.

Holding the wall, he bent to pick up the blemish to the otherwise clean floor. Grasping the object, he expelled a small groan in straightening himself.

He held it between his thumb and forefinger, positioning it at the focal length his eyes required. He pursed his lips and blinked his eyes as recognition filled him. “Vermont and New Hampshire,” he breathed, shaking his head gently. “He searched for you guys for weeks.”

Jerry squeezed the tiny square in his hand, even as he squeezed closed his eyes. Then, he made himself open his eyes. He shuffled across the foreign floor to the stairs.

Upstairs, one door was closed. He opened it and entered a bedroom. The carpet here would not be changed. The posters would not come down, nor the twin bed be disturbed.

Among some books and games on the desk rested a wooden puzzle of the United States, assembled except for a small hole in New England. Jerry fitted the bit he’d found into the hole. “See? I found it for you,” he whispered to the emptiness.

He gazed at the completed puzzle for a long time, wondering what it must feel like to be whole again. As he shut the door behind him, he coached himself, “One little piece at a time.”

The hole